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October 17, 2007

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I consider myself to be spontaneous.

I am very emotional when it comes to childrens health issues. If I see something that would help in research for finding cures for childrens illnesses like cancer or anything that is related to children, I donate.

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We really have no plan, and in fact probably need to donate more. My wife and I talk about it some, but never seem to follow through. We do like to help out local things like fund-raisers and such. And I usually give the $1 to help homeless pets when I buy dog food at Petsmart, so I'm not a total jerk.

My husband and I have a system where we set aside a certain percentage of each paycheck for donations. Then when we find an organization we like, we donate everything we have in the fund. So the total amount we give each year is planned, but who we give to is decided more spontaneously. Most recently, we joined our city's science center, because we are especially interested in the current exhibits. We also use the same fund for school fund-raisers (just giving what is asked, and I call it a donation for record-keeping, even if we get goods in return and I can't deduct the amount). I give $1 each time I shop at Petsmart, as well. :)

I do a combination. I budget how much I give each month, then about half goes to my church and the rest is given out to various charities--some of which I have pledge to and some that just come up. Some times I dont' give all of it away so then it just sits until later, especially Christmas time since there are so many more organizations asking for donations.

We do a combination. We actually have a % of each paycheck direct deposited into a separate checking account, our "God Money". We tithe from this account monthly, support our missionary friends as needed, and always have money to give to things/organizations we believe in.

I opened a special "giving" account at Emigrantdirect. Every month I have a specific percentage of my income (goal is 10%, currently I give 5%) deposited into that account.

That way when something spontaneous or a one-time giving opportunity comes up (Katrina, Christmas Angels, etc), I already have a pot of money there to give with. I do hope that account grows overall, though, because one day I intend to start my own foundation with that (and/or other) money.

I do intend to start regularly contributing to a specific church and/or charity, but i have yet to identify one.

Other than tithing my donations are not planned out. I wouldn't call them spontaneous though. I don't like to be forced to "give now" either. But if a good charity comes up, I will think about it for a few days and then make a decision. That way it's a good decision and I won't regret it later.

I've been a spontaneous giver, but I'm in the process of really taking control of my finances. I'm considering getting a "prepaid" card that I can deposit to from my checking account and depositing what I can every month. Then I can use that card to fund donations, gifts, etc. When Christmas comes around, if there is significant money left on the card, I would like to drop it in the mailbox of someone less fortunate. What do you think?

In the spirit of giving... check out http://needsharing.org It gives you the power to give directly to people in need. There is no commission or cut, 100% of what you give goes to the need of your choice. Give items, money or time. Soon it will be upgraded so that you can search for needs by items needed or even your geographic area.

We give a regularly deducted donation to World Vision and then we also plan for a certain amount each month, depending on the budget, which we can give to anyone. Sometimes there's spontaneous giving too, but money's pretty tight right now.

complete spontaneous giver here. The only semi-regular organization I give to is the wonderful no-kill humane society where I adopted my dog. I gave them 3x the adoption fee when adopting her because they were absolutely wonderful and helpful. I sent in another check at the 1 year mark and plan to do so in the future. I give to other organizations as they come up and donate to another no-kill animal shelter through donations when I happen to have things that they need.

When I was in the military I used the combined federal campaign for donations as it came out monthly and was easier to work with on my smaller budget at the time. I wish the CFC or a similar organization would work with more companies as the monthly payment and the simple breakdown of fees, percentages, and other non-profit information was simple and easy to use.

xshanex - your idea of giving more to the no-kill shelter is a terrific one. We also adopted a puppy about 2 years ago from a local shelter and she is a great dog. I think when I get home tonight, I might look them up and send them a check.

Kevin

We give spontaneously, but not in response to mass solicitations directly from charities. Many of our friends and family have close ties to charitable organizations and we *never* say no when we get a personal appeal from them. Or if someone we know approaches us and they (or their kids) are participating in a walk/bike/bowl-a-thon-type event. Or when a charity is designated for memorial contributions when someone passes.

Some of these folks are fairly wealthy. If we're invited to their "no gift" birthday or anniversary celebrations, we'll make a contribution to their favorite charity in their honor. And their thank-you notes to us seem very sincere in their appreciation.

While we don't have a predetermined charity plan, the total amount we give to charity in this manner is fairly consistent from year-to-year and in the ballpark of what we would have budgeted.

Kevin - I would like to say my giving to the no-kill shelter was enlightened or showed some kind of wisdom on my part. The sad reality was that I went around to several local shelters, rescues and talked with numerous breed rescue groups and found very few that were easy to work with. The place where I ended up adopting from was just amazing and went above and beyond throughout the entire process. My puppy was microchipped, spayed, wormed, had her first shots, and was socialized when I picked her up for a very small adoption fee which I felt was much to small.

Good topic!

I also follow the "transfer a set amount of my paycheck each month to a separate ING account - and then when I see someplace I want to donate to I sent them a check from that account" plan. In addition, I have a monthly contribution to my favorite charity set up. I've been doing it this way for about a year, ever since I started (1) reading PF blogs, leading me to (2) finally get around to tracking all of my spending, which caused me to (3) realize I gave WAY less to charity than I'd imagined I did and wanted to.

It works really really well - it's probably the single change in my life I feel best about that's resulted from these PF blogs. And I love that the discretionary part of it means that I'm also alert for / involved in thinking about groups to give to throughout the year.

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